New QB eager to play

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

In college, he once posted a phenomenal quarterback efficiency rating of 316.

That was after Boise State's Ryan Dinwiddie completed 19 of 22 passes for 405 yards and five touchdowns in a victory over Fresno State.

Yet, the 6-foot-1, 187-pound pivot was pondering his pro football future when the Blue Bombers came calling. But it still took about a week for GM Brendan Taman and head coach Doug Berry to woo him to Winnipeg.

PORING OVER PLAYBOOK

"I got it (call) last week from Brendan and my mind was not here in Canada with the CFL," said Dinwiddie, who was already in Winnipeg poring over the playbook with Berry yesterday. "My mind was just focused on school and to get that call, probably at the right time, was a little surprising."

Dinwiddie, 26, spent about six weeks working with Berry, then the Alouettes offensive co-ordinator, in Montreal last year and expected to put that knowledge to use this season. But the Als had other plans and released him.

"The last couple of football situations I've been in kind of put a sour taste in my mouth," admitted Dinwiddie. "I was just focusing on finishing school (social science, communications) so, if things didn't work out with football this next season, I could jump right into coaching.

"But this situation sounds better than any situation I've been in, so I thought it was an opportunity and I needed to jump at it."

When starting quarterback Kevin Glenn went down with a knee injury, none of the Bomber backups were unable to fill the void. So, the Bombers decided to upgrade with a youngster whom they can groom for the future.

"I hadn't given up on (football), I was just really focusing on other parts of my life, like school and life after football," Dinwiddie said. "Football is there for me right now, so I'm really excited about it. Once you have football taken away from you for a little while, you have a much greater appreciation for it. You don't take things for granted."

DATE RAPE DRUG

Football was almost taken away from Dinwiddie once before. While in college, he was charged with driving under the influence of a drug (GHB, a.k.a. the 'date rape' drug) and was suspended from the Boise State finale that season. Dinwiddie, who apologized to teammates the day after he was found unconscious behind the steering wheel of an idling car, got off on a plea bargain, which included talking to school kids about the evils of drugs. He has apparently been trouble-free since.

"Obviously, it would be great for me to come in and play," said Dinwiddie, who completed 622 of 992 passes (62.7%) for 9,819 yards and 81 TDs, with 20 interceptions during his impressive college career. "I'm just coming in day by day and hopefully get better. I've just got to prove to them that I can play at this level and do it every week and, through practice, open their eyes so they can feel comfortable with putting me into the game."

Dinwiddie is familiar with Berry's system and, although doubtful, the head knock did not rule out starting him when the Toronto Argonauts come to town next Friday.

"It's a possibility," Berry said. "Knowledge-wise, he'll be there. It's a matter of physically, is he ready to go? But I really believe that he would be capable."


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